Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Oil spill incidents in Nigeria hit 3,700


• NOSDRA orders oil firms to sit up, partners IMO, IPIECA
Stories by Adeola Yusuf Correspondent, Lagos

The oil spill incidents in Nigeria have hit 3,700 in mid-December 2010 even as the federal government at the weekend commenced the review of national action plan for oil spill preparedness and response.

Director, Department of Oil Spill Detection and Response, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Idris Musa, who gave the spill statistics at the national workshop on oil spill trajectory modeling and national dispersant use policy in Lagos, said the figure covered incidents from 2006.

Musa said that the increase did not, however, have much impact on oil spill volume.

But the Minister of Environment, John Odey, disclosed the government’s readiness to review existing national policies on dispersant use in Nigeria.

Odey, who was represented by the acting director general of NOSDRA, Uchendi Okwechime, called on oil and marine companies to also review their oil spill response strategies by obtaining the Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) maps.

The ESI map, Musa added, captured sensitivities stretching from Calabar to Badagry and 50 km inwards from the shoreline. In this regard, all oil companies are hereby directed to purchase the ESI maps from NOSDRA and develop their respective tactical/operational maps to aid their oil spill response strategies.

“Furthermore, oil companies should fully integrate and utilise the platform provided by trajectory tolls in their response strategies to marine oil spill, this becomes very relevant, considering the fact that most oil and gas operations in Nigeria is moving offshore,” the minister said.

His view was corroborated by director with NOSDRA, Olufemi Abe, who noted that NOSDRA was prepared to ensure a zero spill incident in 2011.

The project consultant for IPIECA, Antonio Blonce and his counterpart in the IMO, Stephane Grenon ,also disclosed the readiness of their commissions to assist Nigeria to meet its target of zero spill incidents in 2011.

“This forum is aimed at further enhancing our capacity in strategic oil spill preparedness and response; it is truly a welcome initiative from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservative Association (IPIECA),” Musa who represented NOSDRA DG, said.

NOSDRA has, according to Odey, worked closely with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservative Association (IPIECA) in the review and update of the National Oil spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP) and the development of Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) Maps of the Nigerian coastline.

He called on International Oil Companies and local oil firms to purchase the ESI maps for quick and easy response to spill incidents.

Odey stressed the workshop was the third stakeholders meeting that was held in Nigeria within the framework of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)/International petroleum industry environment conversation association(IPIECA)and GI-WACAF project.

He maintained that the workshop presents all stakeholders in the oil spill management sector in Nigeria and beyond with the opportunity to come up with far reaching decision, especially those agreements that will guide the drafting of an understandable National dispersant use of policy as well as proper utilisation of the National oil spill contingency plan in Nigeria.

“Oil spill incident in the Gulf of Mexico in the United States, and the 16th of June 2010 spill in Xingang port in the Dalian province of China proves the serious concern over the environment to similar incidents. Such spill incidents and the challenges the World had in responding to them should be of help in reminding all stakeholders that no effort should be considered as sufficient in oil spill Management.

The Federal Government, Odey added, is trying his best to make sure it protects the integrity of the environment.

He said; “The inauguration of the sub-committee on clean up and remediation of the Niger Delta region, comprising of all stakeholders in the oil and gas industry and presentation of an environmental sensitivity index maps (ESI) to stakeholders proves that.

“In the course of this workshop, participants are expected to critically review the national action plan for oil spill preparedness and response; and the existing national policy on dispense use in Nigeria.”

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